Understanding the susceptibility of dopamine neurons to mitochondrial stressors in Parkinson's disease

FEBS Lett. 2015 Dec 21;589(24 Pt A):3702-13. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2015.10.021. Epub 2015 Oct 23.


Mitochondria are undoubtedly changed in Parkinson's disease (PD), and mitochondrial functions are disrupted in genetic and pharmacologic models of PD. However, many of these changes might not truly drive neurodegeneration. PD is defined by the particular susceptibility of nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) neurons, but little is understood about the mitochondria in these cells. Here, we critically review the evidence that mitochondrial stressors cause PD. We then consider how changes in the intrinsic function of mitochondria and in their mass, distribution, and dynamics might synergize with an increased need for mitochondria and produce PD, and the importance of understanding how mitochondria contribute to its pathogenesis.

Keywords: Bioenergetics; Dopamine; Mitochondria; Neurodegeneration; Parkinson’s disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / metabolism*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology*
  • Stress, Physiological


  • Calcium